I don’t know where but somewhere I got the impression that Fergana would be an interesting city. It isn’t. I guess it could be if I were to make an effort to meet some people. But since couchsurfing is illegal in Uzbekistan and making friends with strangers on the street was never one of my strong points, I spend my stay in solitude.
There doesn’t seem to be a lot to do in Fergana. As far as I can tell the main activity seems to be standing downwind from the big fountain in the hope that a gust of wind will sprinkle some relief from the heat. After a little searching I come across the city museum. I am far from the only visitor. Several dozen soldiers are being led through the place. It is always wise to steer clear of people in uniform, especially when they are bored, as many of the crowd in the museum seem to be. But there are so many I figure they won’t be able to figure out a way to distribute a potential bribe. So I wander among them.
I decide to stick around for one more day to see the weekly market that the travel guides rave about. But after roaming amongst the stalls for a bit I can’t figure out in what way this market is better than the ones I’ve seen in several other places. I figure I’m just getting blasé, and decide to do something unusual: I got for dinner at a fancy restaurant.
I end the evening paying the equivalent of seven euros for dinner – a relatively ridiculous amount that looks even more absurd when it comes in the form of a stack of Uzbek Som. A few hours later I start a nightlong wake in the bathroom while my digestive system is purging unwanted elements. As night turns into morning I find myself lying on the ground of the bedroom, trying to gather enough strength to gather up my things and go. I just want to get out of town. Initially I walk in the direction of the highway, but the water I just drank revives the struggle in my bowels. I decide to take public transport. For some reason I decide that puking in a crammed small van seems more sensible than throwing up in an individual’s private car. But I probably had nothing left that my body could get rid of. I make it to Andijan after an uneventful ride crammed in the back of Uzbekistan’s most reliable method of mass transportation: a Damas van.